I had a coughing fit last night after a toasted pannini crumb lodged itself in swallowing venue. Beckie offered me a bite of her mash potatoes (some places say mashed potatoes). She said, "It's comfort food. Mash potatoes will help everything."
I chuckled and instead drank beer, which also often helps me. Carbs are the traditional comfort foods it seems, or food that has attachments to it that make you feel better. I saw an About.com article once on it and looked it up to refresh my memory. It includes things like apple pie, cheese, tuna casseroles, chicken soup and chili. The oddest item on the list to me was banana pudding.
My wife likes crunchy items as comfort food, pretzels in the past, toast when she's sick, and now she's on these rice crackers. She loves those puppies.
Many of my friends would probably volunteer pie or my comfort food (or if drinks can be comfort food, they'd suggest beer or coffee). I think there's a difference between a comfort food and a favorite food, though. Pie is definitely my favorite thing to eat, especially those of the fruit variety (and a new discovery, courtesy of my neighbors, grape pie, which they offered me after hearing how much I love blueberry pie) but it's not what I look for when I'm stressed out and want comforted. That's definitely peanut butter. I don't put it on anything except a spoon. I keep my own, secret jar in the pantry so my partaking doesn't spread germs to others or gross them out.
After reading About.com's article again, it struck me that this is just the American version of comfort food so I googled "comfort food". Wikipedia had an article (and funny enough, referenced the About.com article) but in their usual comprehensive way, they include other countries. I perused the lists to see what surprised me. I don't speak to the truth of their lists and didn't check their references.
Australia - vegemite and curry. Curry as a comfort food, in Australia. Interesting.
China - baozi. I'd never heard of it and had to look it up (easy to do, since Wikipedia provided a link). They say it's a sort of filled, steamed, breadlike item.
The Philippines - none of them surprised me. I was familiar with them from several duty assignments.
French - croissants? I guess that makes sense as another bready item.
Germany - I thought their list was spartan, giving only bratwurst and potato salad. In my team there, many people seemed to like bread with cheese or pom frites.
Indonesia - these were all a surprise. I don't know anything about Indonesia, other than its location, and nothing about its foods.
Japan and Korea, no surprises, then there's Malaysia, which I don't know, Romania and 'Thai'.
That leaves a lot of the world uncovered. What do they like up north in Canada or down south in Mexico, Peru, Brazil and the rest of Latin America? No African country was was mentioned, nor many, many, many other countries. Maybe I should embark on my own world tour to learn of comfort foods around the world. That would be cool, visiting other places, interviewing people about their comfort foods, and of course, sampling their foods. It would take a long time. I'd better pack a few jars of peanut butter, just in case.
Returning to Google's results (148,000,000 results, .11 seconds), I see that the Food Network has an entry, along with Food.com, Simply Recipes, and Eating Well. Amazon proferred a book on the subject, called..."Comfort Food", Kate Jacobs, except this is a novel!
I checked the sites to see if they offered anything on the world's comfort fare outside of the United States but need to quit without reporting the results. The recipes and descriptions made me too hungry.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com